Some people think that African Americans were the only Black people that were descendants of enslaved Africans.
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Reparations and the lingering racial wealth gap have been conversations largely within the black American community.
“American Descendants of Slavery” ADOS
A movement which some people believe could further divide the Black community and increase xenophobic beliefs.
ADOS advocates are adding a whole new layer to the conversation on reparations and economic justice by advocating only for black descendants of slaves and not the black community as a whole.
Their advocacy leaves an entire group of people, American-born descendants of immigrants, some of whose families have been in the U.S. for generations – many whose families may have survived decades if not centuries of institutional racism in limbo in the conversation. And the focus has pitted ADOS adherents against people like journalist Roland Martin, who is descended from Haitian immigrants. It also appears not to address the American descendants of slaves from other countries, including for example Haiti, and whether they should be entitled to reparations.
ADOS’ singular focus on American descendants of slavery, and its supporters often combative approach, has sparked controversy and comparisons to a long line of nativist thinking that has gained traction from time to time throughout U.S. history.
Critics, many of them other black people, have accused ADOS advocates of spewing hateful, xenophobic rhetoric and of online harassment. High-profile Black politicians, influencers and journalists, have been attacked by ADOS accounts for having non-American lineage.
Some have even accused ADOS social media accounts of deliberately pushing a far-right narrative under the guise of reparations support.
So What Is The ADOS, DOS & FBA movement?
American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) is a term used to refer to people who are descended from Africans who were enslaved specifically in the area that would become the United States, from its colonial period onward, and to the political movement of the same name. Both the concept and the movement grew out of the hashtag #ADOS created by Yvette Carnell and Antonio Moore.
The ADOS movement has made reparations for the system of slavery in the United States a key tenet of its platform. They want colleges, employers and the federal government to prioritize ADOS and argue that affirmative action policies originally designed to help ADOS have been used largely to benefit other groups.
Supporters of the ADOS movement say they should have their own racial category on Census forms and college applications, and should not be lumped in with others of similar skin color but different historical background, namely modern Black African immigrants to the United States and Black immigrants from the Caribbean.
Yvette Carnell was formerly a board member of “Progressives for Immigration Reform”, which has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-immigration group.
The ADOS movement claims to want “a New Deal for Black America” including, among other things, reparations for slavery specifically for American descendants of slavery in the United States; a 50% government-funded tax credit for college expenses for American descendants of slavery in the United States (75% for those who attend historically black colleges or universities); restoration of the protections of the Voting Rights Act; prison reform; and a minimum of 15% of Small Business Administration loans for ADOS businesses. The group supports affirmative action for American descendants of slavery, but opposes it for all other Black ethnicities or nationalities.
“We Are Not The Same”
A distinguishing feature of the ADOS movement is its explicit emphasis on Black Americans who descended from slavery and its disagreements with Black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean. The group demands “a new designation on the Census with ADOS and another for Black immigrants” to the United States. Supporters of ADOS push the issue on social media with the hashtag #ADOS and state that it “sets out to shift the dialogue around the identity of what it is to be African American in an effort to move the discussion from melanin”; they view ADOS as having distinct interests from other Black groups.
The group’s supporters have been critical of immigration, and have sometimes deployed rhetoric with an anti-immigrant cast, although they deny being xenophobic. In Twitter posts, Carnell defended the term “blood and soil,” a slogan used by the Nazis. Moore has criticized a CBS News report written by a reporter with a Hispanic surname, asserting that the journalist “clearly has a conflicted interest to write the story.” Yvette Carnell previously served as a broad member of the anti-immigration group Progressives for Immigration Reform, which is tied to right-wing groups funded by nativist financier John Tanton.
In 2019, ADOS activists challenged Kamala Harris’s authenticity as a Black woman, asserting that she was not “African American” (Harris’s father is Jamaican American). The claim suggested that Black Americans of immigrant descent, even from countries with a history of slavery under colonial rule (such as Jamaica) do not share the same struggle against racism and discrimination as the descendants of blacks in the United States. The claim that Harris was not authentically Black was amplified by right-wing figures, including Donald Trump Jr., and criticized by civil rights leaders, who accused Carnell of engaging in xenophobic behavior.